November 10, 2005


I've grown used to Eric Berlin's puzzles having some ingenious wrinkle to them, so I'm looking at this one and trying to identify some sort of theme or twist. I got nothin'. It's themeless, isn't it? I love themeless puzzles, but I just get suspicious with this byline. Okay, assuming it is indeed themeless: What a great puzzle! The fairly current X PRIZE entry is a winner, plus CEZANNE and TOLSTOY's full names, BETELGEUSE (who isn't picturing Michael Keaton in "Beetlejuice" right now?), BALI HAI, and GALLEONS. Yes, we see the OGEES and the ESE, but we forgive them because the longer entries are so tasty. (But after a workout, isn't a cool or warm shower better than a HOT SHOWER?)

The Friday Sun puzzle, "Frame-Up," is by Crossword Fiend denizen David Sullivan (a.k.a. Evad). This puzzle offers a goofy rebus mechanism in which / means a spare in bowling and X means a strike in bowling. Complicating matters, the multiple-X thingies have nicknames, apparently, and these nicknames are used in the theme entries. XBREAKERS (strike-breakers) was easy enough, as was TALKINGXXX (turkey), but I had to Google when I was finished to understand TAKEOUTXX. Apparently two strikes are called a double, and a takeout double is some sort of tactic in the game of bridge. (I have never bowled two strikes in a row, and my bridge knowledge has been gained almost exclusively via crossword puzzles.) Anyway, great job, Dave! A twisty theme combined with CAREBEAR and BIKEPATH, and down entries crossing all those X's.


Congrats to Tyler Hinman for both turning 21 and having today's WSJ puzzle! Great RE- theme, particularly DEUTSCHE REMARKS and MISS THE REBUS. The best non-theme stuff included BAD SEED for "babysitter's nightmare," "Sub stratum?" for SALAMI, soccer's OLE OLE (I've also heard it chanted as "ole-e-e-e, ole ole ole," but that'd be a much longer entry), and "Movie that might rope you in?" for OATER. And the MARS BAR is my favorite candy bar, even if its manufacturer insists on calling it the Snickers with Almond these days. (Hell, why don't they rename the Three Musketeers "Snickers without Anything Decent"?)

NYT 5:35
NYS 5:29
CS 2:52

WSJ 9:13
Reagle 7:51